(Updated October 5, 2015) 

Pennsylvania Child Protection Legislation      

To all Boy Scouts of America Leaders and Volunteers, 

On July 1, 2015, a new Pennsylvania state law took effect in an effort to better protect our state’s youth from abuse in any organization that directly works with and provides services to children. This includes such organizations as the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, YMCA, Red Cross, churches, school districts and most certainly the Boy Scouts of America. 

In the coming months units will be receiving training regarding the new definitions of abuse, mandated reporting requirements and enforcement procedures. The priority for our units at this moment is to understand the clearance requirements for volunteers that are mandated by the new law. 

A volunteer under this law is anyone who is responsible for a child acting in place of the parent (supervision, guidance, control, etc.). Clearance requirements for volunteers fall under two categories: registered and unregistered. In all cases the clearances are valid for 60 months (and may be applied for every 57 months, at no cost to volunteers) and copies of all clearances must be kept on file at the unit and the Council Service Center. 


A provision in the law allows those registered individuals who volunteer with the BSA but have no responsibility for the welfare of or direct contact with children (e.g. committee members, board members) to submit a waiver exempting them from obtaining background clearances. In these cases, individuals are required to complete and turn-in to Council a copy of the Waiver of State Mandated Background Checks form (see attachment). Unit verification is required by the primary unit leader (Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, and Advisor) and witness verification may be signed by another unit leader that has knowledge of the volunteer’s duties.   If a waivered individual’s duties or positon change, providing for direct contact with children, clearances must be obtained. 


Includes Unit Leaders, CORs, Commissioners, District and Council Staff, Training and Advancement Staff, Program Staff and Merit Badge Counselors. All registered leaders will be required to complete clearance procedures under this law as follows: 

Registered before July 1, 2015- complete clearance requirements by December 31, 2015; this will be done as part of the rechartering process that will begin in October. Previously registered volunteers will submit a copy of the following to the council office: 

-  PA State Police Criminal History 

-  PA Department of Human Services – Child Abuse Clearance 

-  FBI Fingerprinting (if you have not been a PA resident for 10 consecutive years) OR the Disclosure Statement Application for Volunteers (see attachment) 

Registered on or after July 1, 2015 – complete clearance requirements immediately as part of the application process. The following must be submitted with any new adult volunteer application: 

-  This is Scouting certificate 

-  Youth Protection certificate 

-  FAST Start training completion certificate 

-  PA State Police Criminal History 

-  PA Department of Human Services – Child Abuse Clearance 

-  FBI Fingerprinting (only if you have not been a PA resident for 10 consecutive years) OR the Disclosure Statement Application for Volunteers (see attachment) 


Includes Parents, Drivers, Summer or Day Camp Staff, Tag-Along Staff, and those unregistered volunteers who provide program assistance to any scouts other than their own children. Unregistered volunteers who qualify under these areas, will be required to complete clearance procedures under this law as follows: 

On or after July 1, 2015 – complete clearance requirements prior to providing any assistance to scouts other than their own children. The following must be submitted to the council: 

-  This is Scouting certificate 

-  Youth Protection certificate 

-  PA State Police Criminal History 

-  PA Department of Human Services – Child Abuse Clearance 

-  FBI Fingerprinting (only if you have not been a PA resident for 10 consecutive years) OR the Disclosure Statement Application for Volunteers (see attachment) 

               There will be some confusion as to whether or not a registered/nonregistered volunteer is required to obtain clearances as stated above so the following scenarios should help to clear some of that up: 

-  Venturers or Explorers - Clearances are NOT required for 18-20 year old Venturers or Explorers, as they are not volunteers but program participants (even if these youth are providing leadership to youth under 18 years of age). 

-  Special Needs Scouts - Clearances are NOT required for special needs Scouts (age 18+) as they are program participants. 

-  Tiger Cub Adult Partners - Clearances are NOT required for Tiger Cub Adult Partners as they are participating in the BSA program as parents. Clearances ARE required for Tiger Cub Den Leaders. 

-  Merit Badge Counselors - Clearances ARE REQUIRED for Merit Badge Counselors (with or without parents present). 

-  Eagle Boards of Review - Clearances are NOT required for community volunteers serving on Eagle Boards of Review. 

-  Drivers to camps or events – if a parent asks another parent (parent to parent) to drive their son to an event or camp then clearances are NOT required. If however a carpool is organized or drivers are recruited by the unit’s leaders, then clearances ARE REQURED

-  Parents helping with fundraisers (Show and Sell and/or store front sales) – if the parent will be or could be responsible for a child other than their own son (or daughter) then clearances ARE REQUIRED

-  Adults who stay occasionally at a meeting to help out – clearances are NOT required unless their participation becomes a weekly occurrence. 

-  At Cub Scout Pack meetings or day events where parents are attending with their sons - clearances are NOT required of parents as volunteers. 

-  At events where every Scout must participate with their parent(s) – clearances are NOT required of parents as volunteers, e.g., Haunted Harvest Fest and Cub Skill Weekend. 

-  At events where Scouts are participating without their parent(s) – clearances ARE REQUIRED of parents as volunteers, as they may be acting in lieu of a parent and will have routine interaction and direct contact with youth. 


               New clearances to do not have to be completed if you have valid clearances that were done for another organization. Simply make a copy and provide it to council for filing.   


               Clearances can be completed online with the exception of the fingerprinting which requires on-line registration and a visit to a designated fingerprinting site.   

               Note: As of July 25, 2015 the PA Legislature has waived all fees for PA child abuse clearances for Volunteer applicants.   Upon marking the volunteer button on the appropriate website, a fee will not be     assessed. This does not apply to the FBI Fingerprinting Criminal History because it is a federal clearance. 

PA State Police Criminal History                      


Note: This clearance takes less than 5 minutes to compete and submit.   Response time is a few minutes if no record exists and a printable record check is made available immediately.   If a record exists, a review could take up to 2-3 weeks and a response will be mailed to the address provided. 

PA Department of Human Services Clearance 


Note: This clearance takes approximately 20 minutes to complete and once submitted can take up to 14 days for a response by e-mail (you are also given the option to have the clearance mailed to you). Before you start, you should have the following information readily available to help you complete your application: 

       Addresses where you have previously lived since 1975 

       Names of all individuals with whom you have lived to include parents, guardians, siblings, spouses, etc. since 1975 

       Any previous names you have used or have been known by 

FBI Fingerprint Criminal History ($25.75) 

Pre-registration required and go to 3M Cogent site   https://www.pa.cogentid.com/index_dpwNew.htm

Note: You need to register on-line at the above web address. Once completed contact the nearest law enforcement agency to obtain two cards and complete the fingerprinting. Mail your completed cards and a copy of your receipt to the address provided upon registration or may drop off your cards at an approved 3M cogent site (available on the website).   The registration is valid for 90 days and the response for the clearance can be 4-6 weeksREMEMBER THIS CLEARANCE IS ONLY REQUIRED FOR INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE NOT LIVED IN PENNSYLBVANIA FOR 10 CONTINOUS YEARS. 

              If you would like more information on the legislation or have additional questions please visit http://www.keepkidssafe.pa.govor contact the Council office at 570-784-2700

Pennsylvania Child Protection Legislation

Columbia Montour Council Waiver Application

Columbia Montour Council Disclosure Statement Application

Recruiting Tools

Recuruiting Cards

Are you planning a recruitment activity? The best way to recruit is peer to peer. If you have a good program and your Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts are excited about it, give them a tool to help tell their friends. Available here are Peer-to-Peer recruitment cards. Fill out the second page with information on you upcoming event. Then give some to each scout so they can pass them along to their friend.


Boy Scout Peer Card

Cub Scout Peer Card

Venturing Peer Card

New Scouts are invited to learn more about all that Scouting has to offer at any of our meetings. Returning families are invited to renew their memberships as well.

Returning members do NOT need to complete an official BSA application form but new members do. We have a series of forms that we would like you to print out and complete for our own information purposes and you’ll find all of those linked below.

The required forms are:

  • BSA Annual Health and Medical Record – Parts A and B are REQUIRED for each registered child and adult, along with a photocopy of your current medical insurance card. Part C is RECOMMENDED, especially for Cub Scouts planning to attend resident camp over the summer.
  • Youth Protection Training – required for each registering adult. (Completed Online)
  • BSA Youth Application and/or BSA Adult Application – this is only required for new members or current members who have been told they need to re-register.
    If you have any questions or concerns about your registrations, please contact us.
  • For Adults Registering you will also need the applicable background checks completed. 

The Boy Scouts of America places the greatest importance on creating the most secure environment possible for our youth members. To maintain such an environment, the BSA developed numerous procedural and leadership selection policies and provides parents and leaders with resources for the Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Venturing programs.
Leadership Selection:
The Boy Scouts of America takes great pride in the quality of our adult leadership. Being a leader in the BSA is a privilege, not a right. The quality of the program and the safety of our youth members call for high-quality adult leaders. We work closely with our chartered organizations to help recruit the best possible leaders for their units. The adult application requests background information that should be checked by the unit committee or the chartered organization before accepting an applicant for unit leadership. While no current screening techniques exist that can identify every potential child molester, we can reduce the risk of accepting a child molester by learning all we can about an applicant for a leadership position—his or her experience with children, why he or she wants to be a Scout leader, and what discipline techniques he or she would use.
The "three R's" of Youth Protection convey a simple message for the personal awareness of our youth members:
Recognize situations that place you at risk of being molested, how child molesters operate, and that anyone could be a molester.
Resist unwanted and inappropriate attention. Resistance will stop most attempts at molestation.
Report attempted or actual molestation to a parent or other trusted adult. This prevents further abuse and helps to protect other children. Let the Scout know he or she will not be blamed for what occurred.
Some books about Youth Protection are listed below:
The Guide to Safe Scouting
Cub Scot Leader Youth Proection Training
Cyber Chip Power Pack Pals
For More Informaiton Please refer to the National Website. Click Here to Read More About Youth Protection on th National SIte

Go to top